Beauty is interpreted in many forms. The idea of beauty planted in heads of young girls often comes from TV or films and age old mentality of the society. For many women, fair skin is beautiful. For others beauty means size zero and looking young. It would not be wrong to say beauty is skin deep. Whats surprising is that these thoughts are deep rooted in the 'literate' section of the society. I refrain from using 'educated' in place of 'literate' because often the two are confused. We are taught to read and write in schools, graduate and earn our degrees. That simply does not make us educated because we fail to imbibe the values and life lessons in the educational institutes. Or else why would we indulge in the evil beliefs of the society? My best friend's mother too has the same mindset. Many a time she expressed worry of her daughter's dark complexion and that she would have a difficult time finding a groom. She was also concerned about her education status because a highly educated girl faces a tough time finding an equally educated groom. I would not be surprised to hear the same story from many other women, especially rural places.
But a woman shook my belief and it was astonishing to see that come from someone who is not literate and was born to a poor family. She is my domestic-help Sharda who comes to work everyday with the same energy and wears a broad smile on her face like an accessory. She works in ten households of my residential colony to support her husband financially and give a good life to her children.
Sharda's story of battling the odds moved many to tears. Born in a tiny village in Nepal, Sharda along with her four other sisters were married at young age and they traveled to Delhi with their husbands respectively. Her rickshaw puller husband got into the habit of drinking and his medical illness halved his earnings. Her son got into bad company and quit school. It was then when she fought back and decided to work as a house help, much against the wishes of her husband. Her earnings stabilized the financial conditions and she planned to do something which usually women from her society don't- She got her handicapped daughter Meena enrolled in a school. Criticized by many, including her husband, Sharda was determined to get Meena educated despite her disability and change her life. Meena was born with a crippled leg and missing fingers in right hand.
My respect for Sharda grew by many folds when I came to know how she braved the odds for her disabled daughter who would otherwise be treated as liability in our society. Husband and I offered to help her financially and would often try passing on little things to make her life a little comfortable. A dignified Sharda would always refuse our help saying she cannot accept favours, because she is earning and accepting help would only defeat her motive of providing a respectful life to her girl.
The only time she asked for help was when her elder daughter Meena graduated and was looking for a job. I called Meena to my place for a short meeting. Watching her converse in flawless English was unexpected and quite impressive. Her confidence amazed me. When she told me that she tutors school kids and supports her family so that Sharda could retire, my eyes welled up. The next day I gave a box of cosmetics and skin care products to Sharda for Meena. As always she refused saying "These things will dishearten her didi. If she knows there are cosmetics to mask her flaws, I would be a liar in her eyes".
Her statement left me stunned. What a woman of substance she is!
My husband and I recommended Meena for jobs that matched her skills. The day she landed with a job, Sharda came to thank us with a box of sweets. It was the happiest and biggest feat of my life. I felt so happy for her who brought up Meena like a normal child and did not let her disability hinder her success.She did not abandon her at birth and always told her how beautiful she was. Meena is a mentally strong girl who never pitied herself and never considered the problems her limitations.
Sharda did not stop working and Meena is earning well, making everyone proud of her. Like mother, like daughter. For me, Sharda and Meena are two exceptional women with true beauty within themselves.
I believe every woman has TRUE BEAUTY within her in all the roles she plays. For over 18 years across 650 plus salons across the country, Naturals has been helping the Beautiful Indian Woman get more Beautiful.
Today Naturals Salutes the Beautiful Indian Woman.